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    Computerworld: Mozilla pulls tracking trigger for Firefox 22

    Computerworld reports that Mozilla has included an automatic third-party-cookie blocker in the latest preview version of its Firefox browser. Internet “cookies” collect data about and can track users’ Internet searches and sites visited. Computerworld reports:

    Mozilla has added automatic third-party cookie-blocking to a preview version of Firefox 22, a move that will put the feature in most users hands by late June and the company on a collision course with the online ad industry.

    Advertising trade groups have blasted the new cookie blocking, calling it “dangerous and highly disturbing,” and promising that Firefox users would see more online ads as a result.

    On Friday, the privacy advocate who created the blocking code said it had landed on the “Aurora” build channel. “The new Firefox cookie policy has migrated to Aurora!” tweeted Jonathan Mayer, a graduate student in computer science and law at Stanford University. […]

    Cookies are used by online advertisers to track users’ Web movements, then deliver targeted ads, a practice labeled “online behavioral advertising” by the industry. The new Firefox policy will allow cookies presented from domains that users actually visit — dubbed a “first-party” site — but will automatically block those generated by a third-party domain unless the user had previously visited the cookie’s site-of-origin.

    The by-default setting will not block all cookies and stop all tracking — in internal discussions, Mozilla acknowledged it was a partial block — but is designed to slow the explosion of behavioral tracking on the Web. […]

    An ad group representative also said Firefox users would see more ads, not fewer, if Mozilla went through with the plan. “The facts are that [Firefox users] will get more ads, not less, and those ads will not be tailored to their interests. They’ll see untargeted ads, which will look like spam,” said Dan Jaffe, the ANA’s vice president of government relations, in a March interview. […]

    Unless Mozilla recants, pulls the feature for technical reasons or simply delays it — the company has occasionally done the latter — the blocking will appear on schedule.

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